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June 2024

The lab welcomes two new Graduate Students! Yufei Zong and Isabel Herrera! In addition, we say Good bye to our amazing undergraduate students who are graduating and moving to great things!
- One of those amazing research assistants being Kiana Gee who will come back to our laboratory as our new Lab Manager!! 

Congratulations to everyone! 


January 2024

Congratulations to Graduate Student Jacqueline Beck, and Lab Manager Isabel Herrera on having posters accepted at the Cognitive Development Society! Additionally, congratulations to Grad Student Sharanya Bashyam and PI Dr. Nadia Chernyak for having talks accepted as well!

  • The lab will be presenting work on children's beliefs about social mobility, children's preferences on leadership, bilingualism and social identity, and inequitable household labor distribution. 


December 2023

Congratulations to Research Assistant Elizabeth Rzepczynski on being awarded a UCI UROP!

She will be working on a project investigating the distribution of household tasks and children's preferred future career choices. 


November 2023

Congratulations to our Graduate Student Sharanya Bashyam on having a pre-conference talk accepted to the Cognitive Development Society and getting her poster accepted at the Society for Personality & Social Psychology!

She will be talking about her work investigating how bilingualism shapes tolerance for simultaneous identity.

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June 2023

Congratulations to our Research Assistant Hannah Gonzales on accepting a Lab Manager position at UC Riverside! During Hannah's time at the lab, she was offered a SURP fellowship where she worked on projects related to social mobility.  

We will miss Hannah and wish her the very best in all her future endeavors! 


June 2023

Congratulations to graduate student Jacky Beck and former undergraduate student Rui Zhang on their travel awards and poster/paper acceptance to the Society for Philosophy and Psychology!

  • Jacky will present a poster on children's and adults' beliefs about social mobility

  • Rui will present a talk on proportional reasoning influencing children's equity judgments!

Full conference program here!


May 2023

Congratulations to our Research Assistant Eli Robinson on accepting a Lab Manager position at the University of Maryland! During Eli's time at the lab she was offered a SURP fellowship where she worked on projects related to social mobility.  

We will miss Eli greatly and wish her the best in all her future endeavors! 


April 2023

Congratulations to our Project Coordinator Taylor Ashqar on her acceptance to Cal State Long Beach's Human Factors MA program! During her time at our lab Taylor studied whether children's exposure to lower socio-economic status within their communities affected their abilities to attend or recognize inequality in their equity based judgements.

We wish Taylor the very best on her next adventure! 


February 2023

Congratulations to our research assistant Lizbeth Romero on her acceptance to Cal State Long Beach's Human Factors MA program! During her time at our lab Liz's honor thesis focused on children's exposure to disadvantage and how it affects cognitive control, pro-sociality and beliefs about equity in children! 

Best wishes to Lizbeth! She is an amazing RA and we will miss her greatly! 


February 2023

Congratulations to our research assistant Vivian Nguyen on her acceptance to UC Riverside's School Psychology PhD program! During her time at our lab Vivian's honor thesis focused on children's social relatedness and how they map their emotions similarly or differently from others. 

We will miss Vivian a lot! And we wish her the very best in all her future endeavors! 

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February 2023

Congratulations to our graduate student Cassidy Wolfe for her SRCD travel award and acceptance of talk and poster! Cassidy will be presenting a talk and a poster about her studies about social group identification and children's moral reasoning about wealth. If you're attending the conference and would like to her more about her work, she will present on:​

  • Social group identification talk: Thursday 3/23 at 3:15pm

  • Moral reasoning about wealth poster: Friday 3/24 at 3:30pm


September 2022

The lab welcomes new graduate student Sharanya Bashyam! Sharanya is interested in understanding how non-WEIRD contexts shape children's social cognition. She is interested in understanding how markers such as status and familiarity affect children's social preferences in multi-lingual and multi-cultural environments. Apart from research, Sharanya is an avid reader, loves watching the latest K-dramas, enjoys long walks, and listening to new music.


May 2022

The lab recently held a boba social outing to celebrate our graduating RAs and to say goodbye to our lab manager, Lucy, who will leave for UC Davis this summer.


We are so proud of our graduating RAs Taylor, Shakira, and Rakat, who have been with the lab since 2019! We are so excited to see all their successes in the future. 


March 2022

The lab congratulates our lab manager, Lucy Stowe, on her acceptance to UC Davis's Psychology PhD program! We will miss her and look forward to following the exciting work she will do in the coming years.

Lucy's honors thesis, conducted with Dr. Peter Blake and Dr. Rebecca Peretz-Lange, was published recently: Read her paper on emotions and inequity aversion here.


February 2022

Cassidy and Lucy will present their work at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology! If you are attending the Origins for the Social Mind pre-conference, come check out their work during the poster session from 1:25 to 2:15pm PST.

If you are not attending the conference but would still like to view their posters, please view the PDF versions below:

Cassidy Wolfe "Big Dreams: Wealth and Behavior"

Lucy Stowe "How 4-8-year-old children evaluate and rectify merit-based, random, self-chosen, and structural inequalities"

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October 2021

Our first ever lab publication is out! These data were collected pre-covid, led by our first-ever lab manager, Sifana Sohail.

This work finds an important dissociation between the types of cognitive skills required for sharing behavior, and the ones children use for helping, further suggesting that helping and sharing are dissociable skills.

We are proud to have our first publication be fully open-science (pre-registered, open data, open materials). The pre-print is linked here!


September 2021

Lab welcomes two new graduate students (Cassidy Wolfe & Jacky Beck) and five new undergraduate research assistants!

Get to know our team here!


June 2021

Welcome to our summer interns, Sofia Babool, Umiemah Farrukh, Isabelle Hoffman, and Olivia Ramos Jacquez! All four will be joining us this summer from all over the country to work on our NSF-funded projects on the development of reasoning about inequality, and how to improve children's math learning.

Congratulations to our recent graduates: Katherine Brogan, Erin Conghuyen, Sahrai Garcia, and Rui Zhang, many of whom have been with the lab since its inception! We will miss you all very much.

Congratulations to Ariel Tan who has accepted a lab manager position at the UCI School of Education and Katherine Brogan who accepted a research coordinator position at UC San Francisco!


May 2021

Lots of announcements! Our undergraduates have been incredibly successful lately. Here are just a few of the recent highlights:

  • Congratulations to Rui Zhang and Erin Conghuyen on winning Order of the Merit awards for academic excellence, academic excellence, original research, leadership activities, and service contributions to the community.

  • Congratulations to Danyang Ma who has accepted a PhD position at UC-Riverside's Department of Psychology!

  • Congratulations to Rui Zhang who will be starting a Master's program in Industrial & Organizational Psychology at New York University!

  • Congratulations to Yunshi Luo who will be starting a master's program in Developmental Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania!

  • Congratulations to Katherine Brogan & Rui Zhang who presented their thesis work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at UCI!

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April 2021

The lab congratulates our project coordinator, Danyang, and our lab manager, Lucy, who had their work accepted to the Society for Philosophy and Psychology conference this year!

  • Danyang will be presenting a poster on children's judgments of moral actions.

  • Lucy will be presenting a poster on children's beliefs of different reasons for inequality.

  • Nadia will be presenting a poster on the relationship between numerical cognition and exact reciprocity norms.


March 2021

The lab congratulates Allegra Midgette, our postdoc collaborator, who has accepted a job offer at Texas A&M University! Congratulations, Allegra! Your future students at Texas A&M will be very fortunate to have you.

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January 2021

The lab had lots of work accepted to the Society for Research in Child Development's conference this year! Congratulations to:

  • Our lab manager, Lucy, who will be presenting a poster on inequity aversion.

  • Our postdoctoral researcher/affiliate, Allegra, who will be presenting a talk on children's perceptions of household inequality.

  • Our project coordinator, Jose, who will be presenting a poster on how social framing helps children learn about proportions.

  • Our PI, Nadia, who will be presenting talks on the relationship between numerical cognition and children's abilities to pay attention to equality and equity/charity-based norms.


December 2020

Congratulations to our lab project coordinator, Ameera, who had a poster accepted to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology preconference on Social Cognition!

Ameera will be presenting her work on how reflecting on structural disadvantage shapes our notions of fairness and equity.

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October 2020

The lab had its first Fall quarter lab meeting and will be resuming all of our projects online for the foreseeable future! As a note to parents, we now compensate for your children's time via Amazon gift cards - please feel free to check out our studies here. You can participate in multiple studies.

The lab welcomes three new research assistants: Welcome, Yunshi, Catherine, and Annie! Get to know them here.

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July 17, 2020

The lab welcomes our new lab manager, Lucy Stowe! Get to know Lucy here.


The lab got together on Zoom to bid farewell to Sifana, our first ever lab manager! Sifana will be moving to Yale University to start her PhD studies.


July 13, 2020

The lab receives funding in the form of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation!


Over the next 5 years, the lab will be investigating the cognitive and social predictors that develop young children's understanding of inequality - please look out for online studies to participate!


July 6, 2020

This past quarter, the lab submitted a record number of undergraduate grants/independent projects. We received all of them! Congratulations to Katherine, Erin, & Rui on being awarded SURP's to pursue independent summer projects! Congratulations also to Taylor, Sahrai, Abe, Erin, Shakira, and Rakat on being awarded UROP's for their collaborative projects, to be completed during the 2020-2021 school year.

And finally, we have shifted all of our studies to an online format for the foreseeable future. Please visit us at to participate!

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June 8, 2020

The lab held a Zoom conference featuring our undergraduates' independent projects. We held this conference in lieu of UROP and SURP conferences, which were cancelled due to the pandemic. Thank you to all who joined us and all who presented!

Congratulations to our graduating seniors: Naomi De Luna, Nina Hoang, Danyang Ma, Alek Marantz, and Michelle Ortiz!


March 2020

Congratulations to our lab manager, Sifana Sohail, who will be going to Yale University's Psychology PhD program starting in Fall 2020!

Congratulations also to Sifana on having her poster accepted at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.


January 2020

The lab celebrates several accomplishments and awards!

  • Lab RAs Michelle Ortiz and Rui Zhang were awarded a UROP fellowship.

  • Lab RAs Taylor Ashqar, Katherine Brogan, Sahrai Garcia, Danyang Ma, Alek Marantz, and Rakat Rahman received Honorary UROP fellowships.

  • Lab Director Nadia Chernyak received the 2019 UCI Social Sciences Assistant Professor Research Award.

  • Lab RA Sahrai Garcia initiated a collaboration with the Video Game Design Club. We will be partnering with them to create educational games to study children's socio-emotional relatedness to others.


October 15, 2019

Nadia and Sifana presented at the Cognitive Development Society!

Sifana presented 2 posters on the relationship between early numeracy skills and children's prosocial behavior.

Nadia presented a talk on the link between empathy and prosocial behavior.

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July 29, 2019

A write-up of the lab's recent findings on the development of reciprocity has been featured in The Conversation!

Check out the write-up here:


July 15, 2019

The lab receives funding from the National Science Foundation! We will be partnering with Boston College to investigate how social contexts can be used to promote young children's learning of math concepts.

If you are a school or educational center interested in figuring out the best ways to promote math learning, we'd love to work with you. Please contact Dr. Chernyak to discuss opportunities!


July 10-13, 2019

Sifana, Stephen, and Nadia presented their work at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology in San Diego!

Sifana and Stephen presented work on the relationship between numerical cognition and our notions of fairness. Nadia presented work on the development of direct reciprocity.


June 17, 2019

Congratulations to the lab's graduating seniors, Ameera and Jose!

All of our undergraduates collaborated on writing grants and received 3 undergraduate research grants from the SURP/UROP UCI program! Congratulations to Ameera, Danyang, Jose, Katherine, Nina, Rui, Sahrai, and Samia! They will be carrying out their projects this summer and fall.


April 9, 2019

Congratulations to lab postbac research assistant Stephen Sanders who has officially accepted a lab manager position at the Social Learning Lab at Stanford University!

Congratulations to Sifana and Stephen for having poster presentations accepted to the Society for Philosophy and Psychology annual conference. Come to see updates on our recent lab work at the conference in San Diego in July!


March 14, 2019

The lab celebrates:

1) A new paper! Check out our work on the development of reciprocity, to be published in Psychological Science. Pre-print here:

2) A new partnership! The lab will be partnering with Pretend City Children's Museum. We will be visiting Pretend City to do science and play our games.


January, 2019

The lab welcomes 7 new research assistants from UCI! Get to know our research assistants here.

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November 6, 2018

We are recruiting graduate students to join us for the Fall of 2019! Interested students should contact Dr. Chernyak to discuss potential fit, and plan to apply through the Cognitive Sciences PhD program at UC-Irvine. Successful applicants will be guaranteed 5 years of funding.

We are also recruiting undergraduate research assistants to join the lab. Please click the "Join Us" page for more information on how to apply.

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November 6, 2018

The lab has 2 new papers out on cross-cultural work! One article investigates prosocial behavior in rural Zambian children. A second article compares U.S. and Singaporean children's discussions of freedom of choice. Feel free to email us to receive an advanced copy:

  • Varieties of young children's prosocial behavior in  Zambia: the role of cognitive ability, wealth, and inequality beliefs. To appear in a special issue on prosocial behavior in Frontiers in Developmental Psychology.

  • The cultural roots of free will beliefs: How Singaporean and U.S. children explain possibilities for action in interpersonal contexts. To appear in Developmental Psychology.

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August 1, 2018

The lab has 2 new papers out! Feel free to email us to receive an advanced copy:

  • Explaining early moral hypocrisy: Numerical cognition promotes equal sharing in preschool-aged children. To appear in Developmental Science.

  • Number-based sharing: Adult-child conversation about quantity in the context of resource distribution. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

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July 3, 2018

A write-up for the lab's recent findings has been featured in the Greater Good Magazine! Click here to read more!

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July 1, 2018

The Development of Social Cognition Lab is official as of July 1, 2018! We will open our doors starting Fall 2018, and we welcome its first two lab members: Principal Investigator/Director Dr. Nadia Chernyak, and Lab Manager Sifana Sohail.

Get to know Nadia and Sifana here.

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